March 24, 2010.
When John Paul II was pope, he asked for there to be special meetings dedicated to problems facing youth during each one of his international trips. The meetings were a hit and that’s how the idea of World Youth Day was born, nearly 25 years ago.
Father Eric Jacquinet is the person in charge at the Vatican for World Youth Day. He says the meeting is more than a memorable international event.Fr. Eric Jacquinet
Pontifical Council for the Laity“John Paul II wanted to not only give young adults a meeting with the pope, he wanted to share a meeting with Christ and the universal Church. He wanted them to enjoy the presence of Christ.”
John Paul II and Benedict XVI have traveled to 5 continents for World Youth Day. Manila, Denver and Cologne have received the pope. When the pope selects a country to celebrate World Youth Day, it’s because he wants to send a very clear message to that country. Fr. Eric Jacquinet
Pontifical Council for the Laity“The pope wants to show the people of that country that they are a priority. In other words, that in that moment in history, it needs encouragement, it needs the drive that comes with World Youth Day.”
Father Jacquinet knows by experience that an event where millions of young adults come together in one city takes a lot of organizing. That’s why the Vatican and an organizing committee are already gearing up for next year’s World Youth Day, which takes place in Madrid 2011.Fr. Eric Jacquinet
Pontifical Council for the Laity“Right now we’re working on recruiting volunteers. It’s very important for young adults from all over the world help us. We’re also working on the hymn, by getting young adults together in the catechesis who speak different languages and the topics that will be discussed. That’s one of the main aspects of every World Youth Day that is organized here in Rome.”
Over the years, nearly 17 million young adults have participated in World Youth Day. One of the goals of the ones coming up, is to celebrate the event in developing countries, so young adults there also have a chance to visit the Pope. Fr. Eric Jacquinet
Pontifical Council for the Laity“Rome, Madrid and Sydney are developed cities with a good standing economy. We want to go to places with less resources, like we did in Manila, so that young adults from all over the world can have an opportunity to meet the pope.”
During the past 25 years of events with young adults, the pope wants to show them, they are the hope of the Church. 25 years that will celebrated today with the vision not only on the future but also on the whole world.